In May we attended the New York State Network for Youth Success conference in Saratoga Springs, NY. It's always great to be in the company of like-minded folks, people all working to improve the lives of young people and help them stay on track for success in life. Their motto of “Empower Youth Success” is spot on.
This year's theme was “School's Out, Make It Count!” - which for data people like us begs the question, what makes something count? The answer to that question isn't necessarily hard, it's about knowing what makes a difference and we learn that through data. Data collection tasks like pre-post testing, normed assessment and activity-level attendance allow programs to understand the impact different activities are having on outcomes - for both individuals and aggregated groups. COMET was designed to collect this type of data and has reports to help our users identify trends and track progress. These are key steps in any program evaluation effort and we're here to support you.
For ten years, COMET has been working with out-of-school time (OST) organizations to help them manage their data in an efficient way. We think the value of youth professionals is in the time they spend with young people, not the time they spend entering data. So, we strive to make a system that's easy and quick to use. If you're thinking about getting started with program evaluation, check out this blog post.